Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Elias Trip

Today I bought a new blank book, it'll be my journal for our trip. I've always kept journals, along with words, they are filled with maps, ticket stubs, business cards of places and people i meet, anything that I like and that will fit in there! One time at a bed and breakfast, the hostess was kind enough to write a recipe in my book. I love these personal touches.
And I like to draw in them.

... covering the books with a vintage map, is helpful for 2 purposes, it gives me an instant look at where i am, and it looks great (I think).
...here are some of the sketches in my books. The left one is of some flea market finds in Amsterdam and the one on the right is of Bushmen Rock Art, over five thousand years old!

I love to look through these journals, they take me right back to the moment, sometimes literally..."we are watching a lion sleeping in a tree!"...
I scribble all through the day, notes, sketches, whatever is interesting to me. I keep lists, birds, animals, trees, flowers, there's no order or rules to them. Oh what am I saying? Of course you know my friends, most of you have probably kept journals before blogs! :)

One time when we were in East Africa we had a guide, his name was Elias. He was the best guide we'd ever had. Ever. We were 3 together, he, my husband and myself for over 2 weeks. Elias taught me a lot about the wildlife we saw. He patiently answered every question I had (a lot) consulting his well worn guide book if he didn't know the answer (hardly ever).
He told me he was from a village at the foot of Kilimanjaro and raised in a small village near Moshi. And he had 5 children like me, 3 boys and 2 girls. He called me Mama. And he told me that what I say and what he sees are 2 different things. He didn't believe I had 5 babies. We told Elias "Asante Sana" all the time. Thank you in swahili. He watched me draw in my book. Sometimes he would ask to see. One time when we returned to our camp a group came up to me and asked if I was the one who was the artist. I was embarrassed. I said I keep a journal, nothing special. They said they'd heard an artist was here, it was Elias telling them.
Nearing the end of our safari, Elias said to me:

"Mama, you've drawn every animal in Africa, except for one".

" which one is that Elias?"

" ME!"

My husband said, Well you'll have to draw him. I am not really an artist, I can't draw people I said. But I did. I tried anyway. My picture was of his profile, that's what I saw all the time from the backseat of the land rover. The day finally came when we were to part. He was dropping us off at the border of Kenya and Tanzania. He was becoming more and more quiet. I could feel he was sad. We were sad. Once we were through passport stamping and our new guide was there to meet us, it was time for goodbyes.

Chuck gave Elias his tip and his Carpinteria Lifeguard Hat. I could see how happy that made him. Then it was my turn. I gave him the picture I had drawn and painted and under his likeness (sort of) were the words:

Elias ~ Best Guide in Tanzania

Elias was motionless. He took the drawing and said quietly " I don't have the words to express my thanks" and then he said "Asanta Sana" to me.

Finally I could say these words to him,
Karibu Sana Elias, your welcome.

...please forgive the bad pics of pics, because I am too lazy to scan! this was really fun for me to remember, thank you for sharing with me. And Thank You Elias at the foot of Kilimanjaro.

We'll always remember you.

xxx & Love, Lori


  1. I love your journals and the wee tags hanging off them...beautiful!
    and the story about elias...oh that is a wonderful story, thank you for sharing it.
    The pictures are stunning.

  2. gosh lori - you really are an artist! your diaries are fabulous and the photos came out brilliantly unscanned. and the story of Elias.... so heart filled; i LOVE your blog so much - always brightens my day xx

  3. I just KNOW how Elias felt! He will never forget the two of you till the end of his days!!! I wish you had drawn an extra picture of him for us.
    Lori, you are definitely not only an artist but also an angel. And Elias has touched a feather of your wings! I see that a part of you has stayed in Africa - your love!

  4. What a beautifully nostalgic story. Oh, I so enjoyed that Lori, had a little lump in my throat. Just beautiful.xx♥

  5. Love it Lori!!!
    Absolutely fantastic way to keep your memories.
    I'd love to read more from your diaries - maybe Lori's Journal Blog and every now and then when you re-live one of the memories you can share it with us.

  6. ah i love this.
    i also love how you have the patient to draw them while on a trip.
    Elias sounds like a great person
    and you do too!
    this was touching,
    while i was reading it, i saw it most likely as a old short film.

    - Hailey

  7. You are such a wonderful artist!And its really so nice the way you maintain those travelogues.it doesn't matter where you go its the small memorable instances that occur that make the trips wonderful.As always you took us with you on the memory trip :-)

    love chaitra

  8. Bonnie Lori, I have an award for you on my blog (in my comments, sorry) WHICH YOU GREATLY DESERVE!

  9. My heart sings when I see that there is a new post from you on my 'dashboard', Lori. I usually quickly finish what I am busy doing, grab a fresh cup of espresso and race over here to see what lovely words and stunning photographs you'll treat us with this time! And it is always so....

    See, look - there is yet another photograph that should be blown up, framed and hung on a wall. The journals, one next to the other, with their little tags telling us about the adventures written within. I would hang that one above my desk as inspiration...

    The girl, the man and the landrover sings of Africa and all the mysteries and marvels that wonderous continent has to offer...

    Your beatiful, delicate watercolours; the maps; the ticket stubs and the hand-written memories of far distant places...

    You and Chuck...and Elias, the man who gently led the two of you through the land of his forefathers and taught you the ways of the animals...

    It is perfection.

  10. This is such a cool idea - I am going to have to copy it next time I go on a vacation. I can hardly wait to see your journal for the upcoming trip.

    best wishes.

  11. What a wonderful experience that must have been! The pictures are amazing! I can't even imagine what it must have felt like to be there. Your guide must have been wonderful. Meeting people on trips is always my favorite part.

    I also love your journals. What a great idea. My journal looks very sad comparied to those. :) The little tags are such nice touches too.

  12. That was really a heartfelt story about Elias. You are such an inspiration! I hope you don't mind that I used you as inspiration for my walk.

    I never have kept journals and ampersand is my first attempt at blogging--have always been more of a conversationalist.

    One thing I've learned so far about keeping a blog is that we all have something very interesting and poignant to say to someone.

  13. Thank you for sharing your Elias story with us, that was great! I love it when people share! Your photos and sketches are very nicely done.
    I like your notebooks with the maps and your dangles on them.
    Oh how I wish I could go to Africa!

  14. Lori,

    You are a truely inspiring woman!

    Thank you

  15. I've got goose bumps having read this Lori, a heart warming story.To have made such wonderful connections together.
    And how lovely to be able to prepare for your next journal.


  16. Sweet memories, indeed. You are smart to keep things organized and easily accessible. Most charming are the stories that you have collected and have shared with us on blogland.


  17. I am grateful to you for this beautiful frame
    See myblog

  18. You are so organized unlike me. I turn the house upside down every time I need sth! I really envy your journals...

  19. I forgot to inform you that if you want, you are welcome to write a wish for yourself in my list. The title means "I want to" and I have listed famous or unknown people's wishes about their own lives...taken from blogs, magazines or newspapers.

  20. Wow! Very creative and organized. Hats off to you lori!

  21. gorgeous, Lori and I do believe you are an artist, as well as a lovely person x

  22. Thank you thank you thank you everyone for the heartfelt comments, they really mean everything to me...

    michelle, thank you for taking the time to come here and then always to leave your love and light on the page..

    Val, blush blush blush
    hug hug hug
    sigh sigh sigh

    Geli, see above...and remember what I told you before...:)

    Natalie, thank you sweetie, and where did you get that little heart??

    Janet, wow, thanks! i had a good time remembering, i will do it again. and thanks so much for helping me the other night.

    Hailey, you're very sweet. i like that idea, an old film...

    Chaitra, It's so true, life is made up of the small moments and you really can be anywhere...

    Geli, here i come, and i'll be bringing sprinkle cupcakes for you :)thank you.

    Road Artist, great name! and thank you very much,

    xxx lori

  23. Tessa, do you have any idea the soothing power of your words? the grace with which you deliver them? it is a gift and i am truly honored that they are for me. thank you.

    Bhavana, i'm sure they will be a wonderful reflection of you, like pink dogwood is.

    Colleen, thank you so much. It's always a little unreal for me too. it may be why i keep these books, it helps me slow my thoughts down and really pay attention, travel is so exhilarating for me..

    Aden, thank you so much for saying that, of course i am hugely flattered. i think we are all fairly new to this and its kind of learn as you go, but most have fun & be kind.

    Dear eight, I hope you do get to go to Africa too!!

    Kristin, thank you for the lovely comment... you are in S.B.? we might meet for coffee?

    Dear Byrd, you are right, preparation is part of the trip, and for me, its all good...

    Lakeviewer, roserio? forgive me if i've misspelled your name...thank you for such kind words, I love that you called my stories charming!

    John Harris, thank you. your blog is the news? i'm not sure.

    Maximus, thank you. I'm having trouble with the comments at your place, but i have translated the page!

    thank you dear friends for all the lovely comments...
    xxx lori

  24. Dear Ron, Thanks so much for the kind words and welcome!

    Karen, oh dear, now it's back to blushing again. I'm really glad you like this story! thank you.

    xxx lori

  25. Makes me want to go back to Africa right now. I will keep a journal for my next trip - everything is in bags all over the house!

  26. What a perfectly wonderful blog post. I have just started with a spiral notebook. But now I know I will always have one with me when I travel, thanks to you.

  27. Lori~ You are so cool! I love your blog & how you share your journeys. You are a wonderful read & I enjoy your photos, stories, and you! Thank you for sharing.

  28. Hi there, Lori! The little hearts can be had by pressing down the Alt and 3 buttons together on your PC. However, it is Alt, function and 3 on my laptop. Like this :♥♥♥♥♥! Love to you.xx

  29. oh you wonderfully clever creative wizard you! a beautiful blog. beautiful. XXX j

  30. What a beautiful and touching story!

  31. Mama? where are you going? your bags are packed for a new trip?

    Siska, thanks so much!

    Dear Lover, wow, that's great to hear, i hope you have alot of fun with it.

    Janis, you are so sweet, i'd like to cut my hair shorter, but my husband would prob cry... :)

    Natalie! i've got it!!! ♥♥♥ ;)thanks darling.

    Janelli, no. i am not the wizard. YOU are the wizard. s'truth. sweet girl on the hill.thank you.

    Barry, Wow! thanks so much!

    thank you everyone for the great comments.
    xx lori

  32. I think your journals are wonderful - it's such a brilliant thing to do because we inevitably forget so much about our travels.

    And your story about Elias is just totally heartwarming! xxx

  33. Nicky, that means so much coming from you, I know how busy you are with your writing and here you took the time to pop in, thank you.
    xxx lori

  34. I love your journals! I love your adventures! I love your photos! You are such an creative inspiration to me and my life is so much brighter having found your Blog. Thanks!

  35. When I was in my thirties I bought a motorhome and drove to Alaska by myself (with my pooch). Without any kind of itinerary I would just drive whenever and where ever I wanted. The travel journal was fun to keep, and helped my track my trip for the summer. And when I come across it now and then, (usually when reorganizing the closet). I read it again. The memories all come alive. Your idea of the map cover is great.

  36. You are such a great artist!
    Fred Smilek is the acting president of the Society to Save Endangered Species. It was founded two years ago by Fred Smilek along with his two best friends Charles and Jonathan. http://www.fredjsmilek.com

  37. Dear Andrea, sorry it's taken me so long to come back here, thank you so much for your lovely words, you are such a sweetie, I hope all is well with you and your family.

    That sounds like a great trip Lori Lynn, maybe you could make a post of it some time and show some of the pics?

    Fred, wow, thank you for the kind words!

    Prabath, I am so glad you enjoyed this post, it was fun for me to do. Thank you for taking the time to visit and leave such a nice comment.

    xx lori

  38. This brought that lump to my throat that one only gets when reading about love and life and memories shared. Thank you...


xoxo lori